Something crazy happened the other night. It was my first full day I was here, R and I had had a rough day which included our ejection from a restaurant, visiting an American oil co health clinic and getting stopped by fake police (ie thieves) for money. The crazy thing was not the events, but the realizations that followed.
When I was recently studying with John Friend, he reminded us that yoga is a yoking (literally from the Sanskrit yuj) an act of binding yourself to something. And it’s what you choose to bind yourself to that matters. Whenever I remember, I choose to bind myself to the highest possibility of existence, the highest common denominator. In a workshop with the extraordinary dancer and teacher Deborah Hay several years ago she posited what if all one billion cells of your body or however many there are sparkled with the brilliance of awareness? To me, this is connected with knowing oneself deeply and recognizing that we are not different from the greatness that we somehow came from.
But in my mind lives the skeptic, and deep in the cave of the skeptic, the seeds of unworthiness. I have had a lot of fear around moving to Africa, I’ve imagined most of the worst things that could happen to me. I’m not usually like this, but for some reason, I have not been able to clear my mind. Douglas Brooks always says you are the company you keep, so keep great company. I believe this applies to thoughts and attitudes as well. If I keep the company of negativity, that is what my world will quickly become. So at the same time that I’ve been having these insanely violent thoughts, I’ve been trying to push them away in order to not keep their company.
One of my favorite things about Anusara yoga is that it is built on a foundation of intrinsic goodness. That means that the first thing you look for, in yourself and others is what is good. And the belief is that that goodness is what you are made of. You don’t need to do anything except know yourself well, again and again. There is no spark of enlightenment that will take you away from this suffering. There is only the beauty of this wondrous world, which is the very thing that you are made of. There is no hidden bad part of you that needs to be fixed.
I definitely believe this. I have seen and felt the effects on my own life and watched a beautiful change creep up on those who I teach. And years of therapy and self-exploration have pointed out some serious abandonment issues. The other night I recognized how this plays out in terms of my wild and horrid imaginings for the first time. It’s like some part of me believes that the part of myself I am hiding is bad and deserves any hurt that happens, deserves to be left alone to suffer it. I’m sharing this with you all because I don’t think it’s uncommon.
So I’m using this idea that I might be able to wake up all the dark parts in myself that don’t think they are worthy and yoke them to the idea that maybe they are. In my daily practice here I’m making efforts to stay in the company of openness and pull as much attention and energy into the center of my worthiness as possible. And I can feel it now for the short run.